BECOME A REGISTERED ORGAN DONOR
By becoming a registered organ donor, you may save a life someday. There is a chronic shortage of most organs needed for transplant in Canada – currently, more than 4,000 Canadians are waiting for organ transplants, and too many of them are children.
Organ transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. After one year, liver and kidney transplant recipients enjoy a survival rate that exceeds 85%.
Transplants are also cost-effective. For each person with kidney disease, the average cost of dialysis treatment is $50,000 per year. The cost of a kidney transplant is approximately $20,000, with an additional $6,000 per year for anti-rejection medicines.
Organ and tissue donation provides each of us with a special opportunity to help others. Sharing your decision to be an organ donor with your family is as important as making the decision itself. Sharing your decision now will help your family to carry out your decision later. It is necessary for you to document your decision by completing a donor registration card. In some provinces, this can easily be done on-line.
In Canada, each province has its own organ and tissue donation system. To find out more information on the program in your region, please choose the appropriate province/territory:
- Alberta, Nunavut, Northwest Territories – these provinces do not currently have a registry, signing the back of your medical card or a donor card and making your wishes known to your family is standard practice.
For more information, contact the H.O.P.E. (Human Organ Procurement and Exchange) Program:
• For Calgary and southern Alberta, call 403-944-8700
• For Edmonton and northern Alberta, as well as for Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, call 780-407-8411
- British Columbia – www.transplant.bc.ca
The British Columbia Transplant Society maintains a legally binding organ donor registry, which has replaced all previous methods of indicating intent to donate organs. You can register on the Transplant Society’s website, by phone (1-800-663-6189) or by mail-in form –
- Saskatchewan – To show that you want to become a potential donor in Saskatchewan, place the orange “organ and tissue donor” sticker (included in each health services card package) on your health card. More information is available on Saskatchewan Health’s website or by calling them at 1-800-667-7551.
In Saskatchewan, people are encouraged to place an organ donor sticker on their health card, sign an organ donor card and talk to their family and friends about their wishes to be an organ donor. Stickers and cards are available by calling Saskatchewan Health at 1-800-667-7551. In April 2011, an organ donation public awareness campaign was launched at www.isanorgandonor.com
Organ and tissue donations and transplants are managed by the Saskatchewan Transplant Program, with coordinators in the Saskatoon and Regina Qu’Appelle Regions. Their contact information is provided below.
Saskatchewan Health website:
- Manitoba - www.transplantmanitoba.ca
To become an organ donor in Manitoba, in addition to informing your family of your wishes, you should sign a donor card and carry it with your health card. Donor cards are available from Manitoba Health’s website or by calling 204-787-1897.
- Ontario - www.giftoflife.on.ca
In Ontario there are three ways to register consent to organ and tissue donation. The traditional donor card which Ontarians may carry in their wallet pre-dates Ontario’s registry, so a signed donor card – while still valid – does not mean an individual is registered. The easiest way to register is online, through www.BeADonor.ca. All you need is your health card number and your date of birth, it takes less than three minutes. You can also register your consent in person at a ServiceOntario Centre, or visit BeADonor.ca to download, complete and mail a Gift of Life Consent form.
For more information, visit www.GiftofLife.on.ca.
- Quebec - www.quebec-transplant.qc.ca
To indicate your willingness to donate organs and tissues in Quebec, obtain a free donation sticker and apply it to your health card. Stickers are available at CLSCs, hospitals or drugstores.
To know more about Transplant Quebec and awareness campaign in 2011 ;
- New Brunswick - www.gnb.ca/0217/organ-e.asp
New Medicare cards have your wishes about organ donation clearly displayed; you can make your intent known on your renewal form. If you would like to show your desire to become a donor before your card is up for renewal, contact Service New Brunswick at 1-888-762-8600.
- In Newfoundland and Labrador, you can show you wish to be a donor by signing a donor card or indicating your decision on your driver’s license. For more information, contact the Department of Health and Community Services at 709-729-4984.
- Nova Scotia - www.legacyoflife.ns.ca
In Nova Scotia you can register your wish for organ and tissue donation on your health card on renewal. You can also call MSI at 1-800-563-8880 and a donor registration form will be mailed to you. Capital Health offers more information on organ donation in Nova Scotia.
- Prince Edward Island - www.gov.pe.ca
You can change your mind or withdraw your consent at any time. Make sure you inform your family if your wishes change.
When a person of any age dies without formally consenting to be an organ or tissue donor, the person’s next of kin can consent on the person’s behalf.
A child under the age of 16 years and the child’s parents or guardians together can consent to the donation of organs or tissue from the child while living.
Yukon Health and Social Services offers information on becoming a donor on its website. For information on how to become an organ donor with the Yukon Organ Donor Program, call 1-867-667-5209 or 1-800-661-0408, local 5209.
If you are a resident of the United States and you wish to become a donor, contact your local Coalition on Donation. A list of these state representatives can be obtained from the Coalition on Donation site.